12.06.2004

Work/Life Balance Schmalance

Question of the Day:
The myth of the elusive work/life balance working mothers are supposed to aspire to attain was conceived by:
a) a male doctor who was never home to discuss how his working wife was really feeling about her marathon multi-multi-tasking day, and therefore believed if his wife had balance every working mother could achieve the same;
b) a mother who won the lottery as soon as her baby was born, thereby allowing her to quit her job, hire two housekeepers, a gardener, a professional organizer, two chefs, delivery laundry service, a chauffeur, an on-call nanny and a personal shopper (achieving a balance between child-rearing and keeping your own identity is easy! she said);
c) a childless female doctor who was sick of hearing all of the mothers come into her office complaining of how tough their lives were;
d) some sick and twisted fool who should be banished from society; or
e) all of the above

While I have a suspicion the work/life balance myth could have been developed from a, b, or c, for me the answer would be d. What idiot decided that what we working mothers needed was to try to achieve that 50/50 balance between our working lives and our home lives? News flash: THERE IS NO BALANCE. It's never 50/50. For all of the mothers trying desperately to make sure every aspect of their lives is balanced, for you own sanity I implore you to give up the game and just live.

Motherhood has definitely helped me relax a bit in my overzealous nature to do everything all at once. I get really excited about things, but then sometimes I get worked up because there are so many things, and then I get stressed out even though I really am enjoying everything I am doing. I know enough to know this about myself.

Before Buddy Boo was born, I can't tell you how many articles I read about making sure that I tried my best to balance my life as much as possible. "When you find yourself spending extra time on a project at work, be sure to schedule in some 'me' time to make up for it." Blah blah blah. Come on, let's face it: even trying to achieve balance ends up creating more work than there was in the first place!

I've learned that there are, indeed, things I can say no to. But then where's the balance when there are even more things these days to say yes to? Yes to taking Boo to baby groups to play with other babies and talk with other new moms. Yes to writing a blog every other day or so. Yes to making my friend's wedding invitations and save the date cards. Yes to making cookies on a Monday night. Balance, my ass.

I suppose the underlying message in the articles I read about achieving work/life balance is to just do what makes you happy. Sure, sometimes work will take over for a while. Yes, there will be times when you'll be overloaded with family obligations and won't have time just for yourself. But that's how life goes and I think as long as you interweave some personal satisfaction into all of those things, you'll be fine. I think it's when we have to work to try to keep everything on an even keel that we get into trouble, and we end up feeling as if we've failed when in reality, we've just set unattainable goals.

If you feel you have achieved work/life balance, then I say bravo to you. Maybe you can share your recipe for success with the rest of us flounders flopping around with silly smiles on our faces from being happily unbalanced. However, I'm willing to bet that your recipe for success does not in fact lead to a 50/50 utopia, but rather a simple equation that works for you in your life, right at this moment. For me, I've stopped chasing the elusive mythical beast that is work/life balance. I'm too busy to even try :)

0 comments: